Hopefully you’re tuning in to this Kentucky
Derby Debbie post because you read part 1 yesterday (if not, scroll back to find it before you keep reading.) The three parts are all really one continuous awesome story.
So on the second day of the women’s conference, I was scheduled to speak in the morning for thirty minutes and later bring a breakout group message specifically to mothers from my book, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms.
The hard thing was, my first talk took place at exactly the same time the Celebration of Life for a dear heart-sister of mine was slated to begin back home in Florida. Cindy and I had been in the same small group neighborhood Bible Study, sharing intimate hopes and dreams, life battles and spiritual victories for the past 7 years. She was truly dear to my heart in every way imaginable.
And then a sudden and shocking diagnosis of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer had called her to heaven much sooner than I was willing to let her go.
I hated – and I really do mean hated – missing the celebration of Cindy’s life, but it could not be helped. This conference had been scheduled for nearly a year. And when one is the keynote speaker, one cannot simply not show up. So I had been up since 4 am that morning grieving the earthly presence of my girlfriend and praying comfort and peace for her family from afar.
I had a little speech all planned for the conference that morning, but as is often the case with our well-made plans, Papa God had other ideas. “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT).
From the first moment I stood at the podium, I began feeling those holy elbow jabs to the gut I often receive when the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me something (whispering doesn’t always work with me; sometimes He has to yell or lock me in a half-Nelson to get my attention). The first time or two, I ignored it and kept blabbering my prepared speech. But after the third poke, I stopped talking and listened to the directive Papa God was giving me: Honor Cindy. Right here. Right now. These ladies don’t know her but they’ll understand. Each of them has someone they need to grieve alongside you.
So I shared the story of my Florida girlfriend with 200 Kentucky women who’d never met her. And without even meaning to, the gospel of the saving grace of Jesus Christ flowed right out of my mouth. Because that was Cindy’s story. She was a woman who cherished her relationship with her living, loving Savior down to her last breath here on Earth. And she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt where she would be spending a glorious eternity.
The exact kind of confident hope and unshakable faith we each yearn to have.
There were lots of tears that day. Empathetic tears for me and for a sister in Christ they’d never met. And tears for lost loved ones in their own lives. My off-the-cuff message from Philippians 4 – finding hope in the midst of despair – was meant for at least one woman present (Before I speak to a group, I always pray for my audience of one; that Papa God would lead me to say precisely what one person there needs to hear from Him). The young woman who approached me afterward with tears in her eyes, who felt that Papa God was using Cindy’s story to remind her of the joy existing beyond the grief of losing her mother. The one who needed to give the sorrow she had been stuck in for far too long to the Lord and begin to move forward.
After the group had been dismissed for a short break, I noticed two elderly African American ladies approaching me up the aisle. One was blind and was being led by the other, with me as their apparent destination.
“I want to pray a blessing over you, Sister Coty,” the blind lady said as she enveloped me in a loving embrace. And she proceeded to wrap my soul snugly in a warm blanket of the most beautiful and Spirit-filled verbiage I’ve ever heard. I felt totally blessed and loved and anointed throughout every molecule of my being.
Wow. Just. Wow.
I’ve never had a blessing prayed over me before. Not like that. And it was truly a blessing. In every way. It made me decide to study the role of blessings in the Bible and perhaps include them in my Too Blessed to be Stressed ministry in a tangible way. Because you could not possibly feel stressed after such a blessing. It was like lounging on a marshmallow in a sea of melted Godiva chocolate.
So tell me, BBFF (Blessed Blog Friend Forever) – have you ever had a blessing prayed over you? Would you like to?
Derby Debbie, Part 3 tomorrow! Hit the “subscribe” button if you’re not already receiving these posts automatically.